The Right Surface Finishes For Your Wood Floors

All natural wood floors need to get a final touch with a surface finish so that they last longer and withstand more wear and tear. Surface finishes are popular because they are durable and water-resistant, and make sure that your wood floors will require minimal maintenance. A regular cleaning and mopping keeps your wood floors clean but caring for the surface determines how your floor will appear after many years of use. 

Get help from a professional to see which of these surface finishes will be suitable for your wood floors.

Water Based Finish

This type of finish is ideal for a home with a lot of foot traffic. Water based finishes are highly durable and long lasting while being clear in appearance and not yellowing over time. There are different shine levels that you can choose from depending upon the design of the room and the decor. When applied, water based finishes exude a mild odor and take 2-3 hours to dry. 

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Difference in appearance of a water based and an oil based surface finish

Oil Based Finish

This one is very common and also the easiest to apply. Since oil based finishes are moisture resistant they are ideal for the living room or kitchen floor. Oil based finishes are amber in color and have a moderate odor when applied, and take about 8 hours to dry. Oil based finishes resist moisture and last for a long time thus helping to maintain the appearance of your wooden floor despite regular usage.

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The yellow tinge in the floor due to oil based finishing

Moisture Cured Finish

A moisture cured finish is highly moisture resistant which makes it longer lasting than any other finish and appropriate for use in any room of your home. Moisture cured finishes have an amber appearance and are non-yellowing, but they have a very strong odor when applied and take up to 2-3 hours to dry.

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Lustrous moisture based finish for the living room floor

Wax Finish

Wax finishes are the oldest form of surface finish used on wood flooring. Wax finishes are not only easy in application but also cost effective and if cared for properly, can last virtually forever. When applied to a wooden floor surface, it gives off mild odor and can take a while to dry. Though wax finishes are definitely hard-wearing, they may show up water spots and other contaminants easily.

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Difference in the floors appearance before and after wax finish

Shellac, Lacquer And Varnish 

These finishes have fallen out of favor since the introduction of Urethane finishes. While Lacquer has been suspended from use due to its flammability, Shellac is still being as a wood floor sealant. Varnish replaced vegetable oil based finishes before Urethane was introduced, but is no longer a preferred choice.

All natural wood floors need a surface finish, however, you must be careful about applying the correct finish meant for the respective wood to enhance durability and minimize maintenance for years of hassle free use.


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